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* Three Saudi national killed near Mali border
* Security forces arrest three suspects, sources say
(Updates with details)
NIAMEY, Dec 28 (Reuters) - Three Saudi Arabian citizens were killed by gunmen on Monday while travelling in a car near Niger's border with Mali in West Africa, a Niger government spokesman said.
As Yves says lavishly equipped hunters [and at other times 'Ramadan dodgers'] from wealthy Arabian countries are not uncommon in the Sahara. Wasn't a whole group robbed and killed hear Ghardaia (Alg) a few years back?
It could just be what it seems - and another axis worth avoiding
There is a baffling description of an area, 'al-Raziqah' with 'dense vegetation and rugged mountains, 180 km north-west of Timbuktu' does does not bear any relation to anything around there. Could not find Al-Wasra [Al-Zubar] either.
Bamako - Security forces in Mali have arrested a suspect in the killing of four Saudi tourists and an American in neighbouring Niger, a security source told AFP on Thursday.
"We arrested on Wednesday in Gao (Mali's north-east) a man considered a suspect in the deaths of the four Saudis, killed on Niger's territory" in December 2009, a security source in the north of the country told AFP by telephone.
"The same individual is suspected of killing, or having participated in the murder, of an American diplomat, also in Niger," more than nine years ago, the source said, adding that the suspect would be brought to Mali's capital Bamako "very quickly."
In December, an armed group attacked six Saudi tourists who were in western Niger on a hunting trip in the desert, over the border from Mali, killing four of them.
Wealthy Arabs from the Gulf and Libyan dignitaries often visit to hunt with falcons a local wild goose that lives in northern Niger and Mali and is highly prized for its meat.
In December 2000, a former US soldier working at the US embassy in Niger's capital Niamey was shot dead and his car stolen. The vehicle was later found in Mali. - Sapa-AFP
The problem here is that we are a victim of much better global communications. What I mean by that is that these type of problems occurred much more frequently in the past but we never heard about them, and thus felt the world was a safer place.
Nowadays, we hear about every incident - no matter how small, or unusual - from the far corners of the globe, and it only serves to make us far more paranoid about the risks.
The risk are actually far less, but our awareness (and consequent fear) of the risks is far higher.
Perspective is required to put it all into context. From my own personal perspective I was in Zaire in 1978 during the Kolwezi massacres and subsequent military clampdown - I only found out about it when I reached Kisangani. I ended up riding into Uganda (during Amin's rule) as a quick exit from the country and it was only weeks later when I reached the Nairobi Poste Restante, and opened an urgent telegram to contact the Oz High Commission, that I discovered I had been front page headlines in the Melbourne newspapers as being someone thought dead and massacred. To the great chagrin (and no doubt disappointment) of the Melbourne Herald-Sun I reported back that I was well and truly alive and simply a victim of typically right-wing journalistic sensationalism.
congrats Farqhuar on surviving the Congo in full flight. It must be quite a thing to read the exaggerated headlines of your own passing. Not something I've managed as yet.
Generally speaking, I think you're right in that most people do come home from a trip to the Sahara without an involuntary sabbatical in NE Mali. But the reason for posting a lot of the grim stories on STF is so that people can make the most informed decision possible. Also, a key difference in the Sahara at the moment is that tourists of western appearance are the precise target of some groups, whereas in many uprisings in Africa they're not.
Saudis killed in northern Mali: Riyadh seeks Algiers
Algeria - The lightning visit to Algiers last Tuesday of the Saudi Arabian Deputy Minister of Interior for Security Affairs, Prince Mohammed bin Nayef bin Abdelaziz Al Saud, and the Minister of Interior of the Kingdom, Nayef Bin Abdelaziz Al Saud, were surrounded by a total blackout.
However, they occur when the case of four Saudi tourists, killed the border between Niger and Mali by a group of terrorists, has a twist with the arrest in Gao, northern Mali, a sponsor alleged operation. To recall, the victims were en route to Mali, November 30, 2009, when their train was stopped by an armed gang, four of them were killed and two others seriously injured. The arrest of the suspect is not the result of efforts by the Malian authorities, but the result of pressure from the Saudis and Interpol services that Niger had requested. The identification of a leased vehicle, part of the procession of the Saudis, led to the arrest, Niamey, its owner, a Malian customs, chief of station Manaka, and three shepherds in Mali and Niger in a which objects belonging to victims were found. The runway on which the service work Nigerian leading elements of the army into an ambush in which four soldiers were killed.
Trying to sort this out:
- the female customs officer in Menaka was arrested. The arrest was reluctantly done by the Malians after immense pressure from Saudi and Niger. She was in possession of one vehicle used by the assaulted Saudi hunters. This car was stolen in Chad, and rented to the hunters with her brother as a guide.
She was arrested together with her husband, a veteran car smuggler who is also a suspect in the murder of the American military attaché in Niamey nine years ago, whose car was stolen. The husband was arrested and convicted, but released after strong pressure from the local community. He faked his own death in cooperation with the Mali authorities to avoid punishment.
Then a phone call from him to his wife the day the Saudis were attacked was intercepted. According to the Nigerians, the husband planned the ambush.
He is also a suspect in the kidnapping of two Canadians last year.
Did I get this right? Whatta story.
How on God's earth can the Malians let a guy like this run loose??????
The article then explains why Mali president Touré can't release AQIM prisoners but won't mind a ransom payment. And how the abduction of a mayor in Kidal region unveiled some of the connections between drug smugglers and Mali officials.
As far as I can tell with my lacking French, the article basically says that the Malians, from the president downwards, don't mind the present situation with money generated by kidnapping, theft, smuggling, murder and so on.
they might have been hunting there, that is not unusual.
I remember a kidnapping of a hunting party from the Emirates or Saudiarabia in northern Mali in early 2005.
While we were waiting for our border formalities at the Tunisian - Algerian border, we saw zillions of Land Cruisers corssing the border. After 20 cars passed by I asked one of them where they were from and the guy said Saudi.
Then Algerian officials explained a Quatar prince was coming hunting with his escort. Escort? Several huge trucks caryying wood, tents and who knows what - and something like 70 cars in total
From the Algerian side their escort was 70 cars from the Gendarmarie.
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